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Overland Park community providing support for fire victims

Posted: 1:15 PM, Mar 21, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-21 18:19:17-04

Stories of pet owners rushing home to free their cats and dogs from flames flooded social media Monday.

"People did not wake up yesterday thinking they were going to lose their homes - where am I going to stay, where will my pets be, are my pets okay," said Dawn Johnson.

Credit: Tails R Waggin'

She's the owner of the  Tails R Waggin  dog kennel in Overland Park. That's when she got an idea - she'd offer victims' pets a free place to stay until they could find something more permanent.

"Anything you can do, whether it's you provide a meal, provide a place for people to stay, their animals to stay, money donation, clothes, dog food -- whatever it may be," she said. 

Sam's Club near 135th St. and Antioch Rd. also stepped up, waving the membership fee for victims who need to stock up on supplies and groceries. The store also offered free lunches to those in need.

"We have always been involved in our community, especially in Overland Park," said Bret Falkner with Sam's Club. "It really reaches our heart. Sam's Club has always been there to help when it's good and when times are bad also."

And neighbors in Overland Park, Johnson County and the Kansas City Metro say they'll offer money, supplies and time today, tomorrow and as long as the victims need. 

Community members and organizations are offering donations of time, money, and items to victims.

Tails R Waggin'

  • Offering free boarding for dogs who have been displaced because of fires

Sam's Club

  • Waving the membership requirement on Tuesday for fire victims needing to buy groceries or supplies. The store is also offering free lunch to victims.

Chipotle

  • Indian Valley Elementary is hosting a dinner night fundraiser at Chipotle on 9900 College Blvd. on Wednesday, March 23, from 5-9 p.m. All proceeds raised will be given to the families in need. Be sure to tell the cashier you are with IVE when checking out.

Christ Lutheran Church

  • Members of the church and the American Red Cross are helping those impacted by the fire. Families say while it's been a very difficult time, they are thankful the community it coming together to help.

After being displaced due to Monday’s fire, Jane Mack is one of several people figuring out those next steps.

“Most of the top of my house and the back side is gone,” Mack said. “I think probably the most important thing is for us to try to find a place and determine what's going to happen with insurance and you know just, I guess just take one day at a time and rebuild.”

She’s starting at Christ Lutheran Church, a place for people who were displaced.

Right now the church is providing shelter, food, toiletry items, and disaster relief assistance.

“We knew we had a lot of people we had to help, and that's what we're here to do is we're making sure that people are taken care of right now and provide a stop gap for any needs that they have between now and when their insurance company starts helping them,” Oscar Peterson, Disaster Assistance Technician for the American Red Cross, said.

 

As Mack and her family go through what was saved from their home, she said the most difficult part is finding her pet cat, Ginger.

“You love your pets, you know, they're our family members,” Mack said. “They offer you unconditional love and it's just, if we aren't able to find her, she'll just be truly missed.”

Ginger has a pink leopard collar with a pink bell on it. If you’ve seen her, please contact the Lutheran Christ Church.

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Terra Hall can be reached at  terra.hall@kshb.com.

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